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  • Ciaran Pierce

Lauren Spencer Smith Says Goodbye to Her Heartbreak Era in Debut Album "Mirror"

“I was just in a very heartbreak era. And I never, in a million years, thought about getting married. I just thought it was so complicated, and I didn’t really feel that way until I actually met my boyfriend, and I started to feel that way about him.” -Lauren Spencer Smith

A young girl sits in a reflective pool of water, eyes to the floor, fully draped in an array of dark wash garments. Contemplation dawns on her face as she confronts herself. The red lips. The pale complexion. Ripples dance across its surface. She is a female Narcissus, though it is unclear whether she loves what she sees.

This is the cover art for Mirror, the fifteen-track debut album of singer-songwriter Lauren Spencer Smith, released on July 14th. The inspiration behind the project, summed up by LSS in a press conference hosted by 1824 Universal Music Group, was “My life trauma, as it stands. [...] Like breakups—a lot of best friend breakups. Really just the falling out of relationships and how difficult [they] are to navigate and lose, and join again. A lot of the back half of the album is inspiration from meeting my current boyfriend, who I was so scared to fall in love with again and, like, let somebody in again. And the first half of the album is more dealing with falling out of love with someone.”

Although Mirror will be her official debut album, LSS is no stranger to the music industry. A season 18 semi-finalist on American Idol, the artist garnered immense traction on social media during the early stages of her career, back in 2019, after routinely uploading singing videos in an attempt at self-promotion. By the time TikTok solidified itself as a primary platform for creators, she had established her strategy, turning what was initially a passion into a lucrative career opportunity.

“I would be lying if I said I didn’t use social media strategically instead of just for fun,” said LSS in regard to the recent influx of new fans. Clearly, her efforts have procured remarkable benefits for her mainstream presence. But promotion is only so much when genuine talent is a true test of an artist’s potential. And she has talent.

Coined “a professional filler of voids,” Lauren Spencer Smith’s music is a ballroom for one. An ode to white picket fences and small-town love affairs. When listening, it is better to dance alone, arms wrapped around the self, love aimed inward. Like an arrow.

Listeners have acclaimed the artist for her brutally honest lyricism, a quality that gives her music a cathartic feel for those undergoing similar circumstances. At just nineteen years old, the Canadian singer-songwriter has tapped into a collection of past and current experiences—both the tragic and the ideal—for her art.

But according to LSS, her intentions go much deeper than art-making:

“I’m trying to rekindle what my parents lost. I’m trying to be married for fifty years. That brings me so much stability,” Lauren told me. It’s as much about making the art as it is about making the art into a reality. Perhaps this is why her songs hit so hard.

A Brief Q & A With Lauren Spencer Smith

FDZ: In your single titled “That Part,” you discuss wanting the idyllic, symbolic marriage: a white picket fence, taking the husband’s last name, and two Ikea beds for the twins. It’s an extremely stark contrast with songs such as “Narcissist,” "Flowers," and “Fingers Crossed,” which detail emotionally traumatic relationships. What was your intention in depicting these dissimilar but very typical kinds of love in the same album?

LSS: I feel like, honestly, all the lyrics for “That Part” —I just grew up with divorced parents, but I do the opposite thing that most divorced kids’ parents want to do. Like, most people who have divorced parents—they don’t want to get married. And they’re like, “That scares me, my parents were divorced.” And I’m the complete opposite. I’m trying to rekindle what my parents lost. I’m trying to be married for fifty years. That brings me so much stability. But I feel like, honestly, when I wrote “Fingers Crossed” and a lot of the other break-up songs, I never actually felt that way. I was just in a very heartbreak era. And I never, in a million years, thought about getting married. I just thought it was so complicated, and I didn’t really feel that way until I actually met my boyfriend, and I started to feel that way about him. So I feel like, honestly, the two were not intentional. We just kind of wrote what I was feeling in those exact moments, and they just happened to be cohesive.

FDZ: The album art for Mirror pictures you sitting in a reflective, shallow pool, fully clothed in dark colors, and surrounded by what appears to be an icy landscape. The only prominent indication of color is your red lipstick, which compliments your weapon of choice: your voice. In light of the album, what was the artistic intention behind this shoot, and does it pair well with any additional upcoming visuals? Will we see a theme?

LSS: Yeah, I feel like there’s definitely gonna be a theme. We haven’t fully decided if we’re putting out a deluxe, but if we do, it’s definitely gonna be cohesive. But I hate the “Fingers Crossed” artwork. I hate all my artwork and music videos like pre-album. I just don’t—there are a lot of reasons as to why. Just like, things out of my control. Things last minute. And then I was just like, Screw it. We’ll just write “Fingers Crossed” on a black screen kind of thing. So when we went into the album artwork [for Mirror], I was like, This cannot be bad. If this is bad, I’m going to cry. Like, this has to be really classic. And it has to be simple. It has to still have something that ties into reflection. But I also didn't wanna just stand in front of a mirror and be like, Oh, mirror. And so we worked with an amazing creative director who helped us plan out this entire album shoot. And we obviously shot a million other different looks and things as well, and this just ended up being the one we loved the most. We really loved doing a reflection on water. Classic and beautiful.

FDZ: I think it was successful. I’m glad you have an opinion about your visuals.

FDZ: In a recent interview, you spoke about your songwriting journey as a collaborative effort, one that involved the assistance of multiple people and methods. Seeing as your songwriting has garnered much respect for its form and authenticity, can you tell us what the most essential thing you learned about the lyrical form was?

LSS: Mm. Yeah. I mean, I’m a very big advocate for having co-writers. I think everyone can benefit from having people, like, test your ideas, and try to pull more things out of you, even when you think you have the best lyric. I feel like the main thing I probably learned with songwriting, in general, would be to listen to others—listen to other people’s ideas and try to bounce off of them. Cause I think sometimes when people collaborate—this has only happened to me once or twice— there can be a lot of egos, and you’re sad because you haven’t gotten a line in. Or like, Oh, is this even my song anymore? People can get very overwhelmed, so I think it’s very important to respect the other people that are in the room and listen to their ideas. No idea is a bad idea because it can always form other ideas. Because it’s just a creative space.

FDZ: I think we can all learn something from that. Thank you, Lauren. That’s all I have for you today. Good luck with everything and the album.

LSS: Thank you!

Listen to their latest music HERE



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